The 5 Travel Experiences That Will Teach You the Most

Travel is about more than just seeing the sights — even though they can be pretty incredible. It’s all about how the destinations impact you.

They say that traveling is the one thing that leaves you speechless and turns you into a storyteller. I believe that’s true, though each travel experience leaves you with a different story, a different perspective and a different lesson.

The moment you step foot into a new place and begin to immerse yourself in the culture, you begin to change. One of my favorite things about traveling is that each trip I take allows me to experience a completely new set of “firsts”. Whether it’s hiking through parts of the Himalayas and feeling awestruck at the sight of the sacred temples, living in New Orleans and falling in love with the bustle of city or appreciating my means while taking a horseback ride through an impoverished village in Punta Cana, travel always offers you something new.

Travel opened my eyes to how much of the world was left for me to explore and oncehad a taste, I couldn't wait to see it. One of the following five travel experiences might just lead to an eye-opening experience for you, and here's why:

Solo Travel

Some travelers write solo escapades off as lonely, boring or even dangerous, but you will learn the most about yourself if you hit the dusty trail alone. That’s because you’re completely in charge of everything — where you stay, what you eat, how long you hang and what you’ll do to fill each day. With all of this alone time you can sort through some of the real-world stressors plaguing you before you left town and might just be able to work through them what with so much time to think. You’ll be bolder, more confident and more outgoing by the time you return. How’s that for a lesson?

Backpacking

How much do you really need to get by? A backpacking trip will teach you that you can live with hardly anything and still be pretty darn happy. It will save you money as you travel — no need to pay airline fees for a carry-on backpack! — and make it easy for you to get from point A to point B. Whether you’re walking the Appalachian Trail or traversing European cobblestones, not having to worry about your luggage gives you more time to focus on the beauty of the country at hand. Just make sure that prepare a list ahead of time as to what you'll be packing!

World Travel

My first foray into international travel changed the course of my life forever, and this is an amazing way to learn about yourself and the world as well. Much of the United States has similar cultural values, cuisines and pastimes, but you won’t find much of that overseas. You’ll find citywide calls to prayer in Turkey, insects for dinner in India and grown men tearing up after a lost World Cup soccer match in Spain. The problem-solving skills you develop while trying to communicate with someone who speaks a different language and the time management skills you learn from having to make it to your next train on time are valuable beyond the edge of that continent. Each little experience will shape your view of the world as a beautiful, exciting and adventurous place.

Road Trips

So many travelers have their sights so set on far-flung locations they forget what’s in their own backyard. The United States is one huge country just full of its own interesting towns, museums, sights and subcultures. Experiencing them might give you a new appreciation for the place you live, a gratitude you can't experience while lusting after countries far, far away. An Atlantic Coast road trip, for example, can have you cruising from New York City to the Florida Keys, catching all of the sites along the way. You can cruise Route 66, follow the Mississippi or pop by Mount Rushmore… the road-trip route possibilities are endless.

Volunteer Projects

Finally, you'll learn just what you can handle and what you’re capable of when you take on a domestic or international volunteer project. There’s a need for volunteers worldwide, and a multitude of resources to consult when deciding to dive headfirst into a volunteer trip. As I prepare for my trip to Ghana in September to help build a school in the Volta region, I can’t speak about the power it will have over me. I do expect it to make me more steadfast in my love of travel while showing me my true value as a human on this planet.

Are you ready to learn more about yourself and the beautiful planet you call home? Book a ticket and get on a plane. Travel is the one thing you can buy that will make you richer.

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Savannah Hemmings - Guest Blogger